Clumsiness
Clumsiness is a common problem in otherwise healthy children with normal intelligence. Motor coordination problems may affect the ability to pe...

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Definition

Clumsiness is indicative of motor coordination problems with daily activities.

Alternative Names

Awkward, awkwardness, can not control movements, clumsiness syndrome, clumsy.

Synopsis

Clumsiness is a common problem in otherwise healthy children with normal intelligence. Motor coordination problems may affect the ability to perform age-appropriate activities, such as dressing and running. Clumsy children may be at risk for academic and social problems. Low self-esteem may be experienced by the child who has difficulties performing in sports and social situations. Clumsy children may appear restless due to difficulties balancing and stabilizing their bodies. Clumsy children may present with poor muscle tone and posture. Working with school personnel and psychotherapists to identify and treat stress, anxiety and victimization due to awkwardness will help improve developmental outcomes long term.

In adults, clumsiness is most often acquired, and may reflect an underlying medical problem. Difficulty with vision or the middle ear many manifest itself as clumsiness, as may the onset of neurological diseases or other medical problems with neurological components.

Associated Diagnoses

  • Brain tumor
  • Autism
  • Alcohol withdrawal delirium
  • Hypothermia
  • Epilepsy
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Head injury
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Alcoholism
  • Brain cancer
  • Developmental coordination disorder
  • Encephalitis
  • Reye’s syndrome
  • Schizophrenia
  • Seizures
  • Marijuana dependence
  • Stroke
  • Opioid dependence
  • Side effects of medications
  • Reye’s syndrome
  • Wernicke Korsakoff syndrome
  • Huntington’s chorea
  • Restless legs syndrome

Diagnosis and Treatment

A thorough evaluation by a physician is required for clumsiness and referral to an occupational therapist and a multidisciplinary pediatric team. Clumsiness that is a symptom or complication of other medical disorders may be treated with occupational and physical therapy. The treatment will depend on the diagnosis.

Call your provider:

Whenever someone is manifesting signs of clumsiness that are not attributed to a known cause or easily explained.

Written by: JC Jones MA, RN
Reviewed by: Paul Auerbach, MD
Written: December 20, 2007
Last Updated: December 31, 2007
Published By: Healthline Networks Inc.
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